House Committee on Armed Services Nuclear Proliferation ... - IDIA
R u t g e r s Mo d e l C o n g r e s s 11 Projections and Implications If the United States does not find a way to adequately defend against nuclear terrorism, the consequences may be deadly. According to James E. Goodby, “We cannot expect that the defensive measures we take to prevent terrorists from infiltrating a nuclear device into our country will succeed indefinitely in a world where more and more nations—some reliable, others less so—acquire the capabilities to build the bomb.” 48 Federal agents on multiple occasions have already uncovered numerous nuclear attack plots against the United States. Any type of attack ranging from a detonation of a tactical nuclear warhead or the destruction of a nuclear power plant can kill millions of Americans. The detonation of a tactical nuclear weapon in a densely populated area could yield casualties in the millions, destroy billions of dollars worth of property, and create widespread panic. 49 The prospect of mass evacuation of dense urban centers would loom large in the minds of policy-makers,” states the Center for Defense Information. 50 The United States military, in conjunction with federal agencies needs to find a solution to prevent a nuclear attack against the United States. Actors and Interests US Military The United States military is the first line of defense against all threats against the United States, is trying to prevent nuclear terrorism. The U.S. believes that it is a plausible threat and that they must find an option that will protect the United States. 51 The options of the U.S. military are somewhat limited on the question of nuclear terrorism. The U.S. military cannot conduct operations within the United States due to 48 Goodby, James E, “ US must take offensive against Nuclear Terrorism,” Brookings Institute, February 4, 2007. 49 Medaila, Jonathan, “Nuclear Terrorism: A Brief Review of Threat and Responses,” Congressional Research Service, September 22, 2004. 50 Center for Defense Information, “What if Terrorists go Nuclear?” Center for Defense Information, October 1, 2001. http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/nuclear.cfm (accessed October 21. 2008). 51 Quillen, Chris, “Posse Comitatus and Nuclear Terrorism,” Parameters, Spring 2002. pp. 60-74. http://www.carlisle.army.mil/USAWC/Parameters/02spring/quillen.htm
R u t g e r s Mo d e l C o n g r e s s 12 the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. 52 The Posse Comitatus Act states that the military cannot infringe on the jurisdiction of any federal agency. 53 Analyst Juliet Kayyem argues that the military must be empowered to conduct domestic operations because “[t]he war on terrorism has made the U.S. armed forces active participants in homeland defense and, in the process, has prompted changes in the responsibilities and mission scope of the Defense Department.” 54 According to U.S. army intelligence analyst Chris Quillen, “Current U.S. policies and laws are not properly aligned with the possibility of nuclear terrorism. The Department of Defense possesses the technical capability, but not the legal authority, to act, as it needs to in most situations.” 55 The U.S. military can however take an offensive role against nuclear terrorism abroad. The United States military’s current strategy against nuclear terrorism relies upon Special Operation Forces (SOF). The SOF can be used to neutralize or recapture nuclear weapons sold on the black market or “loose nukes,” as they are often known—so long as they act before the nuclear material reaches American territory. 56 Some security analysts have advocated keeping the SOF on permanent high alert, so that they are able to react to nuclear crises as they arise. Department of Homeland Security The Department of Homeland Security was created in 2002 and is responsible for protecting U.S. soil from terrorist attacks and responding to natural disasters. 57 The department of Homeland Security oversees multiple federal agencies, many of which are 52 Ibid. 53 Brinkerhoff, John R, “The Posse Comitatus Act and Homeland Security,” Homeland Security, February 2002. http://www.homelandsecurity.org/journal/Articles/brinkerhoffpossecomitatus.htm (accessed October 21. 2008). 54 Kayyem, Juliette, “War on Terror will Compel Revisions to Posse Comitatus,” National Defense Magazine, December 2002. http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/227/war_on_terrorism_will_compel_revisions_to_posse_comitatus.h tml?breadcrumb=%2Ftopic%2F7%2Fdirty_bombs%3Fpage%3D9. 55 Quillen, Chris, “Posse Commitatus and Nuclear Terrorism,” Parameters, Spring 2002. pp. 60-74. http://www.carlisle.army.mil/USAWC/Parameters/02spring/quillen.htm 56 Center for Defense Information, “What if Terrorists go Nuclear?” Center for Defense Information, October 1, 2001. http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/nuclear.cfm (accessed October 21. 2008). 57 Whitehouse, “Homeland Security,” Whitehouse, http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/homeland/index.html (accessed December 6, 2008).